House of Blues
May 13, 2015
Oi, mate! Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds played at House of Blues Wednesday night, and we are just chuffed to bits with their performance. While we half-expected a bout of whinging or two, the show was an absolute doddle to watch. Did we say that right? Eh, probably not, but you catch our (bad British slang) drift: The show was pretty darn badass. Everything was on point, from the crowd-sourced Oasis covers down to the Birds' absolute slaying of their more recent material. Even better? It happened even without ol' brother what's-his-name to help pull it off.
Billed as "A Night with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds," the show was exactly what one would expect from such title: no opener, not much chatter from the band, and a whole lot of music.
From the moment we arrived at HOB, it was apparent that there are still plenty of Noel Gallagher fans to be found, even nearly a decade after Oasis tossed their Beatles-worship, and band, into the ocean. Oh, and a lot of them are British. While walking (read: pushing) through the ass-to-elbows crowd, there was nary an American accent to be found. Perhaps those expats and soccer fanatics who poured out of the woodwork knew something the rest of us didn't: dude, with or without his brother, is awesome.
In true stiff-lipped form, Noel and his Birds popped onstage without much fanfare shortly after 9 p.m., and expertly launched into "Do the Damage," the first of a fistful of tracks off the band's 2014 album, Chasing Yesterday. No banter, no "'Ello there, Texas!" — just a montage of graphics splayed across the background, and some good ol' Gallagher-esque rock and roll. It took a while for Noel to even address the audience. "Do the Damage" was followed up by a stream of songs flowing one into another, including Oasis cover "Fade Away," but honestly, no one seemed to mind. They just bobbed and (at times) dad-danced with the band, content to hear the music, rather than the piss those Gallagher boys are known to take.
Once he did address the crowd, though — well, that must be what it's like to be in the throngs of a Manchester United game — including the lack of comprehension as to what Gallagher was actually saying. There was some chatter about a CD that was hurled onstage, and something about a Texan earring, maybe? But whatever Gallagher said, the crowd went absolutely nuts.
Things got even rowdier when the High Flying Birds launched into "Champagne Supernova," one of Oasis' best-known songs. After all the cheering died down, the song became somewhat of a duet with the audience, all of whom knew every darn word. Thousands of people in that place probably still have well-worn copies (What's the Story) Morning Glory in their possession.
The set went on for about 20 songs, keeping with the theme of little banter, and every single one was expertly performed. Not once was there the feel that someone, or something, was missing. Noel pulled that show off without a hitch, every second of it. The newish music from High Flying Birds — dare we say — definitely leans heavily on that old Oasis sound, but it's unique enough, and updated enough, to feel new. It's definitely Noel Gallagher's style, but almost cleaner and better sans Liam.
And honestly, after decades of bad press surrounding the outspoken, oft-feuding Gallagher brothers, it was nice see to Noel prove that he's all business. The dude has always had enough talent in his little finger to change the entire landscape of the music scene, if he'd find a way to channel it into doing so. After Wednesday, though, it's apparent he's going to come out fighting forever. At the end of the day, Oasis songs like "Don't Back in Anger" will probably always be, in part, what the audience comes to a Gallagher show for.
But it's pretty obvious that Noel is onto something with the High Flying Birds too, and with time, perhaps he'll manage to eclipse that Oasis shadow that still lurks. He's certainly badass enough to pull it off.
Personal Bias: "We are the Beatles" is still one of my favorite dumbass quotes to laugh at. Come on, son! Ain't nobody the Beatles but Paul, Ringo, John and George.
The Crowd: So many dudes. Like, so many soccer-loving, accent-baring dudes. Keep on keepin' on with that dad-dancing, y'all.
Overheard In the Crowd: Nonsense. Nobody knows, but the word "chav" was used. A lot.
Random Notebook Dump: I have never seen HOB that packed. Pretty sure more than one person accidentally got to second, or second-and-a-half, base, as I tried to escape to the escalator.